Education

College Credit Plus doesn’t always add up

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News As high school graduates step across the stage to receive their diplomas, more and more of them will be taking college credits with them. This is the end of the second year of the state’s College Credit Plus a program that allows students as young as seventh grade to earn college credit. The program replaced the Post-Secondary Options Program. Pushed by Gov. John Kasich, College Credit Plus greatly expanded the options, and required school districts to make the program available. Students can take courses in their home school taught by credentialed high school teachers as well as going to campus. They can also take online classes. And more and more students are availing themselves of the opportunity, said John Fischer, vice provost for strategic enrollment planning at Bowling Green State University. He expects that as many as a third of students who enroll in BGSU next fall will bring some college credits with them. Fischer has been the lead administrator overseeing BGSU’s participation in College Credit Plus. In the past school year almost 1,900 students were enrolled in at least one College Credit Plus course at BGSU, either on the Bowling Green or Firelands campus. More than half are seniors with juniors accounting for another 700 or so. The numbers by grade drop off from there – 175 sophomores, 41 freshmen, 13 eighth graders and four seventh graders. About 300 take their courses on the BG campus or online with 685 taking classes at high school sites under the aegis of the main campus “From an enrollment perspective it is robust and incredibly strong,”…


BGSU offers free training on how to comply with government regulations

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Bowling Green State University will host a free training to address various aspects of compliance during the fifth annual Compliance Day on June 1. Community members and business professionals have the opportunity to receive training directly from representatives of government agencies. Sessions will be led by representatives from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, Veterans Programs; Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs; the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division; Ability Center and the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC). The open sessions will cover a variety of topics regarding new regulations, the Civil Rights Act of 1964; EEOC’s strategic enforcement plan for fiscal years 2017-2021; disability awareness and resources; the Fair Labor Standards Act; powers and duties of the OCRC as it relates to employment; types of unlawful discrimination (Ohio Revised Code 4112; advantages of hiring a veteran; overview of the military skills translator and new 503/VEVRAA regulations, and lessons learned since the regulations have been in effect. “Compliance Day is designed to provide additional knowledge from the subject matter experts, who serve as regulators in their respective fields,” said Lisa Dubose, BGSU director of employee relations, professional development and EEO compliance. “It is imperative that organizational leaders continually update their understanding of existing or new laws and regulations pertinent to the workplace. We are pleased to offer this prestigious, no-cost training at Bowling Green State University.” The training is recommended for federal contract holders; EEO compliance professionals; hiring directors; managers and supervisors; and professionals in the fields of ability/disability services, veterans services, law, human resources,…


Library nurtures community in many ways

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green students will be able to borrow digital material without even going to the library, and folks in Walbridge will be able to go to the library to get water. These were among the matters before the Wood County District Public Library Board when it met Monday. (See http://bgindependentmedia.org/community-tree-has-seen-its-last-christmas-new-tree-will-be-planted-in-place/ for story on board’s decision to replace community tree.) Children’s Librarian Maria Simon explained the new E-cards that were distributed to students in grades 3 through 11 this week. The cards will give students access to such online libraries as Hoopla Digital, TumbleBooks and The Ohio Digital Library. Because the materials borrowed using the cards are automatically returned, no fines are charged on the cards. Information is available both through the library and the schools on how to use them. Students cannot borrow physical material from the library using the cards. The E-cards are another way of encouraging students to read during the summer, Simon said. The library board approved an agreement with the Northwestern Water and Sewer District for the district to install one of its watershed units at the newly expanded Walbridge branch. The unit will be installed in a closet-size space with outdoor access. The district will pay for installation. In exchange for locating the unit at the library it will not charge the library for water or sewer service and will pay $$200 in rent. Library Director Michael Penrod said this will provide another service to the community. Also at the meeting, the board discussed the prospects for state funding. State library funding is provided based on a percentage of…


BGHS senior studio culminates in exhibit & awards

Graduating art students recently celebrated completing their Senior Studio, the culmination of four years of study in the Bowling Green High School Art Program. The students last week stage a one-day show of their work at Four Corners in downtown Bowling Green. At the high school awards assembly May 15 the annual honors were awarded. Senior studio, said Claire Wells-Jensen, “ allows you to explore what you want to do. It’s more exploratory.” The studio time also gives students a chance to more broadly try out ideas that may be used in outside projects. Wells-Jensen said her experience in senior studio played into her stage design work for the Drama Club’s production of “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” in the fall. She was the lead designer for the giant puppet of Aslan, the lion. Meghan Worthy, who with Wells-Jensen helped organize the senior studio exhibit, said the studio gave her a chance to explore different media. Students, she said, must often rely on their own research because teachers won’t necessarily have a lot of experience in a particular medium. Worthy said that the self-reliance, time management skills, and organization that senior studio encourages are skills that carry through to other non-art activities. Other students in senior studio were: Breann Burkhart, Ryan Cox, Alysa Grabowski, Logan Mannin, Tim Oakley, Madeleine Ross, Peter Wishart, Frances, Zengel, Alexandria Coppeler, Trevor Craft, Haily Kirchner, Kaila Miller, and Bryn Parker, Claire Wells-Jensen, and Meagan Worthy. Awards went to: Senior Studio T-Short design: Alexandria Coppeler PTO Award; Trevor Craft, “Tieing the Nation Together,” nails PTO Award: Maddie Ross, “Out of Focus,” acrylic. 2-D Award,…


BG Schools hears good financial news, hires new athletic director

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Bowling Green Board of Education was rich with good news Tuesday evening. The board members learned the district’s finances have taken a turn for the better. They voted to hire the varsity football coach as the athletic director. And they handed out awards for everything from art and math to clean kitchens. Adam Dirk Conner, high school math teacher and varsity football coach, was hired as the athletic director with a salary of $72,500. Conner said after the meeting that he plans to continue coaching football.  His goals as athletic director include supporting the coaches and athletes, plus work toward improving the athletic facilities. Conner said he also supports drug testing of athletes, which the board has discussed. “I’m all in favor of it,” he said. District Treasurer Rhonda Melchi presented the district’s five-year forecast – with some good news. “We’re more confident our state funding will be more stable,” Melchi said. Meanwhile, the district saw its expenditures drop as new people were hired at lower rates than retiring teachers, fewer employees were on family insurance, and the worker’s compensation expenses were lower than expected. Melchi said she is still projecting a deficit in 2020, “but it’s not near as big,” she said. “We’ve done a good job managing taxpayers’ dollars,” Scruci said after the meeting. “We’re happy where we are,” though nothing is certain until after the state budget is done. Melchi also presented numbers to the board about the loss seen when students living in the district go to school elsewhere. The statistics showed $283,677 leaving the district for…


’13 Reasons Why’ gives parents and schools reasons to worry

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Across the nation, parents are checking their Netflix history to see if their adolescents have been watching the “13 Reasons Why” series. The show tells the story of a high school junior who commits suicide. Prior to her death, she records a series of audio tapes describing the 13 reasons why she chooses to end her life. The story has parents and school officials watching for the slightest sign of copycat behavior from young viewers. So they want kids to know this: When you die, you do not get to make a movie or talk to people anymore about how they wronged you. Leaving messages from beyond the grave is a dramatization produced in Hollywood and is not possible in real life. Bowling Green City School officials held a program Wednesday evening for parents who have concerns about “13 Reasons Why” and its effect on their children. “The reality is, students are watching this and we want parents to be equipped for it,” said Ann McCarty, executive director of teaching and learning. In addition to a very graphic suicide scene of the main character cutting her wrists in the bathtub, the show also shows instances of rape, bullying, sexual assault, violence, drug and alcohol use. “It’s a very graphic series,” said Jake Tapley, Bowling Green Middle School counselor. Glaringly absent in the series are school staff or parents who intervene appropriately, Tapley said. While some parents may have no idea that their children are watching the show, it is the talk of teenagers in the cafeteria, on the bus and on their…


Luck of the draw sends BG kindergartner to Disney

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Disney World video had the gymnasium full of children at Kenwood Elementary School glued to the screen showing costumed characters and wild rides. They had no idea that one of their school mates would be called to the stage to win a trip to the magic kingdom. Ryan Frankart, from Clubs Choice which runs the annual fundraiser at Kenwood, stopped the film and talked to the children about their efforts last year to raise funds for school technology, the school dance and fifth grade camp. Many of the children won prizes including lunch in a limousine. But Frankart had another surprise for the school on Tuesday. Each year, the fundraising company has a prize drawing covering all 40 states in which it operates. The prize – a trip to Disney World. The chances of winning – one in 75,000. When the company pulled one name, it was a Kenwood student chosen for the trip for four people over four days and three nights. The winner was kindergartner Hudson Karpuleon. When the curtain opened to the gymnasium stage, there sat Hudson’s family with Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears on their heads and balloons surrounding them. Hudson is quiet anyway. But put the kindergartner on a stage in front of 500 or so school mates, and she completely clammed up. “She’s just really shy,” said her mother, Colleen Karpuleon. Most of the questions to Hudson were met with a nod of the head and swinging legs. “It will be a totally different ballgame when you get home tonight,” her father, Steve Karpuleon predicted…


Remember BGSU & what it stands for, Coast Guard rear admiral tells graduates

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News For Rear Admiral June Ryan the path that led her to the Coast Guard was illuminated by the light of a television screen. She saw an advertisement for the Coast Guard at 3 in the morning – “the only time the Coast Guard can afford to advertise.” It featured the Midgett family from North Carolina’s Outer Banks who had members who served in the Coast Guard since before the Revolution. She decided she wanted to start her own tradition. As a sophomore at Bowling Green State University, she enlisted in the Coast Guard Reserve as a junior boatswain’s mate. Once a month she would report to the lighthouse at Marblehead, a lighthouse rich with history. It is the oldest continually operating lighthouse on the United States side of the Great Lakes. It had the first female lighthouse keeper and is near the site of one of the first rescues honored by the Gold Lifesaving Medal. Her career ended up taking her around the world, serving presidents as a military aide, and meeting world leaders, before returning to the Midwest in 2015 as the commander for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. In introducing the 1984 biology graduate at Saturday morning’s BGSU commencement ceremonies, Provost Rodney Rogers noted she was the first woman to rise from the junior enlisted ranks to become a flag officer. Ryan offered the graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences “four observations that led to my success and could lead to yours.” “Remember BGSU,” she said. The “B” stands for beacon, she said. “Be a beacon for others,”…


School program to focus on ’13 Reasons Why’

(Submitted by BG Superintendent Francis Scruci) Dear Parents, As you were made aware last week, the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why is generating a lot of publicity nationwide with both students and parents.  We understand that the topic of mental health and suicide is a difficult, but very necessary conversation to have with your teen.  In an effort to partner with our parents and assist you with discussing these issues, we invite you to join us for “Adolescents and Mental Health: Discussing 13 Reasons Why.”  This program is brought to you by BGCS Department of Instruction and will feature: Jake Tapley, Professional School Counselor at BGMS, and Elizabeth Syrowski, District Behavior Specialist and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. This program is designed to help parents identify the warning signs of mental health issues, discuss the implications of suicide, and address some of the apprehension behind 13 Reasons Why.  We will involve you in discussion about the Netflix series as well as provide you with strategies and resources to approach the subject if needed. Please join us on Wednesday May 10th in the Performing Arts Center beginning at 7:00 p.m. This program is open to all parents. Thank You, Dr. Ann McCarty Executive Director of Teaching & Learning


BG Schools income tax renewal passes by wide margin

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Voters easily passed a 0.5 percent income tax renewal for Bowling Green City School current expenses for five years on Tuesday. The unofficial vote was 1,937 to 647 – giving the district a victory with 75 percent. “I’m very humbled and appreciative of the community support,” Superintendent Francis Scruci said after the votes were tallied. “I think it speaks volumes about how our community looks at our schools and what we do. This will allow us to do what we do in the classroom.” But Scruci said Tuesday’s solid support should not be taken for granted. It cannot be translated as support for the school district’s next venture at the polls for new or renovated buildings, he said. The income tax for the district began in January of 1993 and has been renewed every five years since. It makes up 11 percent of the district’s general fund revenue, generating $3.34 million annually. The issue was the first on the ballot since Scruci became Bowling Green’s superintendent nearly two years ago. Though any election victory is a good victory, Scruci said he was very pleased with the margin of the votes. “I think it really does speak to the amount of support we have in the community,” he said. “And at the day’s end, the winners are the kids.” However, Scruci cautioned that Tuesday’s victory does not mean the district can count on voters passing a levy for new or renovated school buildings. “I don’t think you can compare the two,” he said of the renewal levy and a new tax issue. “I…


Children urged to honor Earth Day all year long

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   “Bob” the crayfish was a big hit at the eighth annual Earth Day Community Celebration on Sunday. But it was his bigger buddy “Chompers” with very active pinchers that drew shrieks from the young children. “You can touch a Maumee River crayfish and go tell your friends,” tempted Christina Kuchle, of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The annual Earth Day event on the open field next to the Montessori School in Bowling Green was focused on fun – with the hope that children and their parents would go home knowing a bit more about how to protect the environment. “It kind of ties everything together,” said Amanda Gamby, of the Wood County Solid Waste Management District. “It brings us all together for one last hurrah. It drives home the Earth Day, Every Day message.” At one booth, Jamie Sands of the Wood County Park District was pushing the message that bees are not bad. Though much maligned creatures, they are very important to humans, she said. “Ninety-five percent of what we eat is possible because of pollinators,” Sands said. “We love bees. Yeaaaaa bees.” Next to the booth, children were trying to “pollinate” towering flowers by throwing balls into the centers of the posies. “We want them to know the importance of pollinators and the importance of pollination,” Sands said. And in the process, maybe parents were learning a bit, too. Instead of spraying to kill bee hives, Sands suggested a phone call instead. “There are agencies they can call to move the nests,” she said. “We need bees.” The Bowling…


Author overcomes learning disabilities to become storyteller

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Patricia Polacco, author and illustrator of more than 100 books, remembers the horror of being forced to read in front of her class. She would clutch the book so hard, her nails would break. “To me, that was like being asked to stand in front of a firing squad,” Polacco told her audience of parents and children Saturday at the Literacy in the Park event at Bowling Green State University. “I could not read until I was 14 years old. I could not write. I couldn’t do math,” she said. “I felt stupid. I felt dumb.” Polacco recalled the unintentional cruelty of her classmates. “The whole class started laughing at me,” when she tried to read aloud. “Please don’t laugh,” she told her audience on Saturday. “You have no idea how much you are hurting that kid.” Polacco’s life turned around at age 14 when one of her teachers finally realized that she was dyslexic and dysgraphic. She was also unable to learn when sitting still – something that wasn’t understood till years later. “In my day at school, I had to sit like a rock.” So Polacco is a big believer in the individuality of children and the way they learn. “I believe all children are gifted. The trick is, we don’t open our gifts at the same time.” Polacco, who lives in Michigan, has turned her gifts into beautifully illustrated children’s books. “For me, art is like breathing,” she said. She didn’t started writing books till she was 41. “Older than dirt,” she told her young audience. In the last…


BG teamwork touted in ‘State of the City’ address

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Though it may sound trite, it’s teamwork that makes Bowling Green work, and it’s those teammates who will get it through tough times in the future. That teamwork was seen in city government last year, with a solar field being built, a park levy being passed, streets being paved, sidewalks being replaced and trees being planted, Mayor Dick Edwards said Thursday during the annual State of the City address. Vital members of the team are Bowling Green City Schools and Bowling Green State University, which have the ability to bring new residents and businesses to the community. “There are hundreds of details,” to make a community work, Edwards said during the address hosted by the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce. Among the many teammates are the fire division which responded to more than 3,000 calls last year, and the police division that reached out to the community with a new “Coffee with Cops” program. Both divisions are nationally accredited – which only six cities in Ohio can boast. “This speaks directly to their extremely high level of service,” Edwards said. “It’s a very, very demanding process.” Last year, economic development in the city brought in investments of more than $47 million in machinery and equipment, and more than $24 million in business construction. “Bowling Green is on the right track for 2017,” the mayor said, noting that during his annual visits with industries, many have indicated they are likely to add more jobs. The city’s utilities also continue to be a point of pride – with a state-of-the-art water treatment plant, an…


BG to vote on school renewal levy, council candidates

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green voters will face a school tax, two liquor issues and a truckload of city council candidates when they cast ballots in the primary election next week on May 2. Bowling Green City School District will have a 0.5 percent income tax renewal for current expenses for five years. The income tax for the district began in January of 1993 and has been renewed every five years since. It makes up 11 percent of the district’s general fund revenue, generating $3.34 million annually. Superintendent Francis Scruci has stressed that the income tax issue is a renewal – not a new tax. Also on the ballot are several city council candidates. A total of 16 candidates have filed for the open seats. None of the ward seats will be contested in the primary election. However, filing for the two open at-large seats were four Democrats, four Green Party members, and one Republican. The deadline for filing for Independent candidates is May 1, too late to appear on a primary ballot. Nathan Eberly has indicated interest in running as an Independent. The primary election will narrow down the at-large race to a maximum of two candidates from each party. Since only one Republican filed, voters will be given the choice of ballots for the Democratic Party, the Green Party or for issues only. Terry Burton, director of the Wood County Board of Elections, said this is the first time the Green Party has had enough candidates to warrant a primary ballot in Bowling Green. Burton said the lack of a Republican ballot in…


BG High’s musical “Shrek” delivers a message about acceptance on way to a fairy tale ending

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A musical based on an animated film shouldn’t feel this timely. But you can’t escape the echoes of the news when a host of refugees flood onto the stage of the Bowling Green Performing Arts Center. Yes, the refugees are a motley assortment of your favorite fairy tale characters. Still one feels the very real pang of people displaced. These refugees end up in a swamp, the home of the misanthropic ogre, Shrek, who wants no part of them. “Shrek: The Musical” like its predecessors “Shrek” the movie and the original picture book by William Steig turns fairy tales on their heads. The show, directed by JoBeth Gonzalez, still delivers a happily-ever-after ending. Along the way there’s plenty of comic patter, tuneful melodies, dances, and a few heart-tugging moments. “Shrek, the Musical,” Bowling Green High’s all-school musical, opens tonight (April 20) at 7 p.m. continuing Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. in the PAC. The animated film really sets the bar for the cast and crew. Technical director Ryan Albrecht and his team capture the atmosphere and settings, and manage to make these shifts without interrupting the action. The dragon is a particularly nice piece of stage puppetry. Justin McKenzie does a good job as the gruff Shrek. He shows that a lot of that grouchy exterior is an affectation. He lets the ogre gradually open up emotionally. That process begins with his relationship with Donkey played with a sure sense of comic timing by Josh Coleman, who is able to capture the antic spontaneity of Eddie Murphy from…